By Jeffrey Archer
Directed by John Kelland
Performed on Thursday 17 - Saturday 19 March 2005 at Pentyrch Village Hall
Take your seats in the jury for one of the most compelling courtroom dramas of all time… In the Old Bailey, distinguished QC Sir David Metcalf is conducting the most important defence of his career - his own. Accused of murdering his wife, Sir David finds himself locked in legal combat with his old arch enemy Anthony Blair Booth.Step back in time to that fateful night, as the whole truth is revealed in this nail-biting thriller. You'll be on the edge of your seat as tensions build to an unexpected and shocking twist!
NODA Review of 'Beyond Reasonable Doubt'
Jeffrey Archer's political career might be politely describes as 'chequered' but there can be no doubt about his skill at plot construction in his novels and plays. This intriguing play, skilfully directed by John Kelland, is an excellent example. Leading barrister Sir David Metcalfe, played with subtlety and power by the outstanding Dai Williams, is accused of murdering his terminally ill wife. The first half of the action takes place in court, where his adversary, prosecuting counsel Anthony Blair Booth, excellently portrayed by Phil Davies, hounds Sir David. Good support here from Heather Major as the judge and witnesses Steve Williams, Karen Claridge and Brenda Slaughter, particularly good as the suspicious housekeeper whose damning testimony is the centrepiece of the prosecution's case. At the conclusion of the trial the audience, representing the jury, are asked to deliver their verdict by ballot.
The second half is a flashback to the events leading up to the death. We see the loving relationship between Sir David and his wife Millie, expertly realised by Sian Davies, and the close friendship of solicitor Lionel Hamilton and junior counsel Robert Pearson, well acted by John Major and Richard Jones respectively. The emotional ending is well handled by all concerned, including the expected twist of plot at the end. The verdict of the audience is announced at the conclusion of the play. With good pace throughout, the principals had excellent support from the minor characters, and an effective set, especially for act 2. Hilltop are rapidly gaining a reputation for excellent drama. A large and appreciative audience had a most enjoyable evening.
Reviewed by Tom Dyer.
Court Usher Rhys Stapleton
Clerk of the Court Anna Constantinou
Justice Tredwell Heather Major
Anthony Blair Booth QC Phil Davies
Lionel Hamilton John Major
Det Chief Inspector Travers Steve Williams
Sir David Metcalfe QC Dai Williams
Mrs Rogers Brenda Slaughter
Dr Joanne Weeden Karen Claridge
Mr Cole Ian Jones
Robert Pierson Richard Jones
Lady Metcalfe Sian Davies
Prison Officer Martyn Lench
Producer/Director John Kelland
Production Assistant Raynor Phinnemor
Stage Manager Wayne Brewer
Assistant Stage Manager Nathan Brown
Properties Raynor Phinnemor
Set Design & Construction Wayne Brewer, Raynor Phinnemor, Josh Krip, Nathan Brown, Owain Davies
Lighting Sarah Thomas
Sound Josh Krip
Continuity Anne Morris
Rehearsal Assistant Sara Pickard
Business Manager Bob Petersen
House Manager Bob Petersen
Front of House Members/Friends of Hilltop
Box Office Heather Major